Multi-bill passed but two coalition MPs ousted over lack of support

eKathimerini – Greek MPs passed on Thursday measures demanded by the country’s foreign lenders in exchange for 2 billion euros in bailout funds and a further 10 billion euros for bank recapitalization but the government lost two MPs in the process.

The government secured 153 votes for the bill, which outlines regulation on tax arrears and the level of protection indebted homeowners have over their primary homes. A total of 137 lawmakers opposed the legislation, including MPs from New Democracy, PASOK and To Potami.

However, SYRIZA MP Stathis Panagoulis abstained from the vote, while Nikos Nikolopoulos, a lawmaker with coalition partner Independent Greeks voted against the multi-bill.

As a result, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ousted Panagoulis from SYRIZA’s parliamentary group and Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, who is also the defense minister, took the same action against Nikolopoulos.

If both of these MPs decide to continue as independents and do not hand back their parliamentary seats, the goverment’s majority will be reduced to just three.

Earlier in the day, Tsipras asked another SYRIZA lawmaker, Gavriil Sakellaridis to step down after he indicated he would abstain from the vote. Sakellaridis agreed to return his seat to SYRIZA and was replaced by Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform Christoforos Vernardakis.

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